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CloudTweaks | Utilizing AWS AppConfig Extensions


Utilizing characteristic flags and different runtime configuration sorts is a fast-evolving know-how phase. Adjusting your software program conduct with a minor configuration replace as an alternative of deploying code lets groups transfer sooner and extra safely. Moreover, releasing a characteristic utilizing a characteristic flag permits engineering groups to activate options to a restricted set of customers after which measure the affect. The potential can immediately flip off and roll again if one thing goes flawed, considerably limiting the change’s affect. At Amazon, we name the follow of utilizing characteristic flags and runtime configuration, Steady Configuration.

AWS AppConfig began in 2017 as an inside instrument for Amazon. It rapidly turned a top-used service for inside groups that wished a secure and measured method to handle their characteristic flags and operational flags. In 2019, AWS launched AppConfig for exterior prospects. This providing had the entire realized classes and finest practices for using runtime configuration and have flags constructed into the product. Now we’re asserting AppConfig Extensions, which permits prospects to increase the facility of dynamic configuration and have flags in new and modern methods. After studying this submit, you’ll perceive what AppConfig Extensions are, what issues they remedy, and what extension sorts you’ll be able to construct.

What are AppConfig Extensions?

For the reason that inside launch of AppConfig in 2017, and the exterior launch in 2019, we’ve added many options that prospects have requested. These embody integrations with Lambda, AWS CodePipeline, and Amazon CloudWatch, in addition to releasing an opinionated format for characteristic flags in 2021. We’ve innovated on behalf of our prospects, and we regularly obtain many requests for brand new performance. One commentary we’ve had on these requests is that there are facets to them that make them impractical to construct in a generic manner. One other commentary was seeing how some prospects have constructed options on prime of our service in ways in which had been particular to their very own workflows. Nevertheless, as an alternative of getting the AppConfig workforce construct all new options as requested, we determined to empower others to construct on prime of AppConfig. We knew that permitting different engineers, each inside and exterior, to make the most of a framework to increase AppConfig could be a drive multiplier, plus give the liberty to assist integrations into customer-specific methods and processes.

AppConfig Extensions are add-ons to AppConfig that improve the facility and security of the primary AppConfig service. Managing configuration usually follows a lifecycle much like creating code: create/replace, validate/check, deploy, and monitor. The AppConfig Extension framework exposes hooks, referred to as motion factors, at every of those lifecycle milestones. When an motion level is triggered, no matter actions (e.g. calling a Lambda perform) are outlined within the set of AppConfig Extensions relevant at that lifecycle step can be invoked.

The framework permits for simpler integration of different providers (AWS and in any other case) to assist prospects enhance their velocity and security. Over the approaching months and years, we anticipate the variety of extensions to develop considerably, offering bespoke options created by AWS and our prospects.

Self-authored AppConfig Extensions

To supply a way of the performance that AppConfig Extensions can present, we’ll illustrate some examples akin to the lifecycle steps talked about above, beginning with the primary section: the creation of configuration knowledge. Let’s say, for instance, that you just wished so as to add a timestamp inside your hosted configuration knowledge’s JSON every time it will get up to date. With an extension, you would hook into the PRE_CREATE_HOSTED_CONFIGURATION_VERSION motion level and write a easy AWS Lambda to insert the timestamp. It’s possible you’ll subsequent determine that you just need to export a duplicate of every model of your hosted configuration knowledge right into a supply repository like Github, no matter its knowledge format. You possibly can create one other extension that additionally hooks into the PRE_CREATE_HOSTED_CONFIGURATION_VERSION motion level to export the hosted knowledge into your repo each time the information adjustments. Whereas each extensions could possibly be related to a specific Configuration Profile, you would as an alternative affiliate this extension to an Software which is able to trigger it to routinely apply to all hosted Configuration Profiles in your Software, even these created at a later date. Persevering with down the lifecycle steps, you would possibly must merge knowledge from one other supply, akin to a legacy configuration database, into your configuration knowledge earlier than it deploys. Your extension would comprise an motion that triggers at PRE_START_DEPLOYMENT and calls a Lambda to retrieve the information and merge it into the to-be-deployed model of configuration knowledge. As a remaining instance, you would set off check automation to run after you’ve deployed new configuration knowledge by hooking into the ON_DEPLOYMENT_COMPLETE motion level that publishes a message to an SNS matter.

Accessible Motion Factors

As famous above, an extension can hook into AppConfig Extension motion factors. Presently, AppConfig exposes the next motion factors:

Motion level Description
PRE_CREATE_HOSTED_CONFIGURATION_VERSION happens when an AppConfig hosted configuration is created or up to date, however simply earlier than it’s saved
PRE_START_DEPLOYMENT happens simply earlier than a deployment begins
ON_DEPLOYMENT_START happens when an AppConfig deployment begins
ON_DEPLOYMENT_STEP happens throughout a deployment, and increments relying on the deployment technique step proportion
ON_DEPLOYMENT_BAKING happens after the deployment completes, however bake time (if specified) begins
ON_DEPLOYMENT_COMPLETE happens after the deployment and bake time is full
ON_DEPLOYMENT_ROLLED_BACK happens if a deployment roll again initiates

AWS-authored AppConfig Extensions

Along with the AppConfig extensions you create, we’ve a handful of extensions which can be already out there so that you can use. The AppConfig Notification Extensions enable prospects to be notified for the ON_DEPLOYMENT_START, ON_DEPLOYMENT_COMPLETE, and ON_DEPLOYMENT_ROLLEDBACK motion factors. Clients can have these notifications despatched to Amazon EventBridge, Amazon Easy Notification Service (Amazon SNS), or Amazon Easy Queue Service (Amazon SQS). We even have an AppConfig Function Flags Helper extension, which performs a job in our Function Flags characteristic and is routinely related to Function Flag Configuration Profiles, in addition to a Jira Integration extension that creates and manages Jira Points related to your characteristic flags.

Wanting forward

This preliminary launch of AppConfig Extensions lays the muse for the platforming of configuration knowledge and have flags. Nevertheless, that is simply the beginning. Sooner or later, we anticipate to launch many AWS-owned extensions and a few third-party extensions. Furthermore, we’re wanting ahead to speaking to prospects concerning the extensions they’ve authored, and persevering with to innovate with our prospects in how they’re using characteristic flags and runtime configuration.

Get began with AWS AppConfig Extensions.

By Steve Rice and Jonathan (JT) Thompson

Jonathan Thompson

Jonathan (JT) Thompson is a Principal Engineer at AWS. He has labored with many groups throughout AWS to construct and lengthen their providers, with a very deep deal with API Gateway, Lambda, and, most not too long ago, AWS AppConfig.

Steve Rice

Steve is the Principal Product Supervisor for AWS AppConfig. He’s loves constructing merchandise that enhance individuals’s lives, and is enthusiastic about characteristic flags and dynamic configuration, and serving to builders get their code to customers as rapidly and safely as attainable.

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